Several factors are driving manufacturers to try and reduce the size, and more importantly thickness, of semiconductors devices used to make microchips. As consumers push for gadgets that are smaller, lighter, yet more powerful, engineers must find ways to reduce the size and weight of the circuit boards and processors used to power them. In addition, an overall increase in demand for electronics has decreased the available supply of silicon wafers used in the fabrication of internal electronic components. Developing devices that use less semiconductor material and identifying the best edge cutting and surface treatment methods for these components could decrease material use and manufacturing errors.
As these parts get thinner and lighter they also become more likely to break or malfunction. Component strength (edge and surface fracture strength) is of particular concern for mobile devices. Not only do they use the smallest parts, they are more likely to be juggled around in a backpack, sat-on, or dropped. Testing the mechanical strength of these components is easy and can help engineers determine the best die cutting (e.g. water jet) and surfacing methods for devices that are smaller, lighter, and more material efficient.
The most common mechanical tests performed on silicon wafers, microchips, and semiconductor devices are three and four point bend tests. These tests are designed to measure both the flexural strength (of the edge and surface) and the capacitance of the sample under flexural strain. Normally, the sample is loaded on the bottom half of a three or four point bend fixture. The top of the fixture is connected to a moving crosshead that pushes down on the sample. The amount of deflection, load required to fracture, and the capacitance of the sample during the test are recorded.
ADMET offers a full line of testing machines, fixtures, controllers, and software to help you perform bend tests on semiconductor devices and integrated circuits with certainty. The video below shows an ADMET eXpert 7600 single column testing machine performing a four point bend test on a memory chip. MTESTQuattro, our software based controller, can be seen displaying real time graphs and data on the computer screen.